The renowned Cordish Companies received full backing last Thursday from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), securing the gaming license formerly linked to the Diamond Jacks riverboat in Bossier City. The Baltimore-based entity is set to acquire the now-defunct riverboat and hotel with plans to inject $270 million into renovating and expanding the property into a new land-based casino.

This April, Cordish took steps toward purchasing the riverboat and accompanying hotel from Mississippi’s Foundation Gaming. The Foundation never managed the casino itself, having originally bought the boat from Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E). The purchase came after P2E’s unsuccessful attempt to transfer the gaming license from Bossier City to Slidell for a proposed resort, a move stymied by voter rejection in St. Tammany Parish.

The former casino, Diamond Jacks, was closed indefinitely by P2E during the pandemic. The company asserted that gaming had become overly saturated in Bossier City, rendering significant investment in Diamond Jacks unnecessary.

However, Cordish holds a different perspective and is prepared to inject approximately $270 million into the enterprise. This figure comes on top of the non-disclosed sum Cordish paid Foundation for the property’s acquisition.

The LGCB this week deemed Cordish, along with its principal executives and stakeholders, fit to hold a Louisiana gaming license. LGCB chair Ronnie Johns expressed his delight at the approval of Cordish’s license transfer from the former Diamond Jacks property.

The first gaming project by Cordish in Louisiana, christened Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana, has expansive renovation proposals. Cordish envisages transforming the present hotel into a 550-room establishment, complete with a resort pool, fitness center, and a 25,000-square-foot multipurpose event center. The Culinary plans include recreating Cordish’s popular restaurant concepts in Bossier City. The riverboat will be supplanted by a large 47,000 square foot land-based casino with 1000-plus slot machines, electronic table games, 40 live table games, and a sportsbook.

Cordish has unveiled its plan to establish Live! Louisiana in 2025. As the vacant riverboat continues to disintegrate, local residents warmly welcome this development. Official inspections conducted last year declared the premises as deteriorating rapidly under Louisiana’s heat, with the HVAC and plumbing systems failing to meet inspection requirements.

In reaction to Cordish’s acquisition, Johns applauded it as an ideal outcome. Cordish exhibits a strong penchant for state-of-the-art casinos, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment across the country. Local residents eagerly await the transformation of Bossier City’s gaming scene. Cordish has often pioneered new gaming facilities, rarely renovating existing properties. With three out of its four casinos built from scratch, this venture represents an exciting new direction for Cordish. The exception is the Live! Casino Pittsburgh, a “mini-casino” in Western Pennsylvania located in a former Bon-Ton department store at Westmoreland Mall.

Hud Wafiq Ganem is a gambling industry pioneer. He is the founder of and his yearly gambling industry predictions and analysis are respected and adhered to by veterans and novices alike.
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